Daily Archives: December 5, 2010

The Double Arm Shift

The double-arm shift is a forgotten hurdling technique. Instead of extending one’s lead arm as the trail arm hangs back during hurdle clearance, the double-arm shift involves pushing both arms forward!

Photo from Steve McGill of Hurdles First

Coach Steve McGill of Hurdles First fame has written much literature on the premiere exemplar of the double-arm shift, the 1972 Munich Olympic Champion Rodney Milburn.

To learn more of Rodney Milburn and this classic hurdling style, read McGill’s Rodney Milburn: “The Double Armed Man” feature.

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Note:  Since the last two entries were about football, I just have to write an honest-to-goodness athletics digest. After all, this is a track blog!

AFF Suzuki Cup Upset: The Philippines beats Vietnam, 2-0!

I just watched an entire football game on TV.

The Philippines stopped the Vietnamese juggernaut, two goals to nil. Fresh from drawing three-time AFF Champions Singapore, the Azkals followed it up with an emphatic victory over the regional powerhouse – the most resounding upset in AFF history!

Photo from AFF Suzuki Cup website

Read “Azkals beat Lions in AFF Suzuki Cup”

Chris Greatwich scored a header in the first half, silencing the highly partisan crowd. Despite a multitude of goal attempts, the Vietnamese couldn’t find an opening into the solid Filipino defense anchored on captain Aly Borromeo and Fulham’s Neil Etheridge. Phil Younghusband buried the hapless, oftentimes luckless Vietnamese into a 0-2 deficit as the game wound to a close.

Watch the priceless, post-game videos from Bleachers Brew

Read Rick Olivares’ “Giant Killer” from Bleachers Brew

Read the article on the game from the AFF Suzuki Cup website

All throughout the game, this football ignoramus was in constant awe, grunting with each close call – cheering with each fine play!

Photo from AFF Suzuki Cup website

Like I always say, I am not a football fan. I didn’t partake of the World Cup euphoria a few months ago. Frankly speaking, I did not see the point staying up until the wee hours of the morning just to watch a bunch of guys kick balls. Unless it’s an Ateneo football game or my sister’s team (or any of the other sisters’ team, if you get what I mean!), I don’t watch football at all!

I must admit that the resurgent Philippine national football team got me interested in the so-called beautiful game. My daily dose of Bleachers Brew also did much to get me into football mode. Call me overly patriotic, but when I see the “PHILIPPINES” written in front of a team jersey, I just get hooked. In a sense, this isn’t surprising, since international-level sporting spectacles hardly get featured in local TV.

Go Azkals!

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Azkals draw Lions in AFF Suzuki Cup

Like I always say, I love a good underdog story!

A few days ago, I heard the good news of the Philippine national men’s football team’s astounding draw over three-time AFF Suzuki Cup champions Singapore. Fil-Briton Chris Greatwich scored a match-tying goal in the dying minutes of the game.

I am not a football aficionado, but I do appreciate such stellar feats of athletic fortitude.In basketball terms, the Philippines drawing Singapore is like Laos’s national basketball team narrowly losing an overtime game against Smart Gilas!

This Philippine team is no push-over. The line-up is an amalgam of hardy full-blooded Pinoys and Fil-foreigners currently playing in European professional leagues. For instance, Neil Etheridge is an alternate goalkeeper for the English Premier League team Fulham! Now that’s impressive. In track & field terms, it’s like having a world championship finalist competing for the flag and country!

I have absolutely no qualms in recruiting foreign-born athletes with Filipino ancestry to beef up our national squads. It’s a lot better than naturalizing full-blooded foreigners. The “Azkals” is an apt name for our national football team. Azkal, askal or asong-kalye quite literally translates into a hardy, street-smart dog of mixed ancestry. In a sense it’s solid representation of the Filipino diaspora. An askal, after all, is the hardiest of dogs!

For in-depth analysis and timely updates on the Azkal’s AFF campaign, read Rick Olivares’ fine sports blog, Bleachers Brew.

The next assignment for the Philippine team is powerhouse Vietnam. The game will be aired live tonight at 7:30 PM on Star Sports, if I’m not mistaken.

Go Azkals!

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Due to my dad’s battle with the Big C, I’ve practically spent most of my evenings the past few weeks in Medical City. I’ve never been a fan of hospitals. These places of life, healing and death are just way too depressing. I cannot stand the smell of antiseptic. The entire place exudes a strangely numbing aura.

I find some measure of comfort in the hospital’s similarity to my alma mater. From the color schemes of the hallways, the faux wood parquet panels down to the soap dispensers in the washrooms – these bear a stark resemblance to the good old Ateneo campus. Due to the hospital’s proximity to the Ateneo School of Public Health and Medicine, most of the residents and medical clerks seem vaguely familiar.

Hospitals are the last place in the world where I want to see familiar faces. Unless its a friend or acquaintance working in health services or someone who had just successfully given birth, hospitals just aren’t apt for the traditional greeting of “nice meeting you here.” Nevertheless, it was good seeing our former team captain, Ryan Dalman, who’s in his third year of med school. Unfortunately, I also bumped into a former team manager (whose grandfather had a stroke) and another former teammate (confined because of dengue fever).

I heaved a big sigh of relief when my dad got discharged last night.

Seeing my father at such a weakened state tears my heart. Aside from the Big C, my dad has always been in the pink of health, in light of his high fiber diet and regular exercise routine. But then again, we are all in the mercy of genetics.

As soon as he recovers from the surgery, he’ll undertake sessions of chemotherapy to rid his body of the cancer. Hence, my leisurely pursuits would have to take a back seat.

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